Stoke City are hopeful Steven Fletcher will be back fit to feature against Swansea in mid-week after being ruled out of today’s trip to Brentford.
Michael O’Neill makes two changes to the starting XI that lost to Barnsley as he brings back James Chester and Joe Allen in place of Fletcher and Josh Tymon, reverting to a 3-5-2 system.
Fletcher limped out just after half-time at Oakwell and assistant boss Billy McKinlay told Radio Stoke: “Steven’s unfortunately got an issue with his hip, groin area. He doesn’t make it today but hopefully it won’t be too long and he’ll be available for the mid-week game.”
Homegrown right-back Kieran Coates makes his first appearance among the subs, taking a seat next to fellow 19-year-olds Will Forrester and Christian Norton, who were also on the bench at Barnsley.
McKinlay said: “He was in the squad the other night and has been training with us the last little while. We’re aware of his qualities and hopefully, if needed, we can see the best of him.”
Stoke’s hand has been forced by injuries to Fletcher, James McClean, Sam Clucas, Morgan Fox, Tyrese Campbell and Nathan Collins.
But wing-backs did help keep them pretty solid on the road earlier this season.
“You don’t need to be a genius (to work out the formation) looking at the personnel,” McKinlay told Angela Smith.
“I think we’re down to the bare bones in certain areas but that’s the game and we’ve got no problem. We’ve played this system on a number of occasions with success so hopefully we’ll see that today.”
Iva Toney and Josh Dasilva return to fitness to start for Brentford, who beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 on Wednesday.
Stoke: Gunn, Smith, Norrington-Davies, Chester, Batth, Souttar, Allen, Thompson, Mikel, Powell, Brown. Subs: Davies, Vokes, Oakley-Boothe, Cousins, Tymon, Forrester, Clarke, Coates, Norton.
Brentford: Raya, Dalsgaard, Reid, Pinnock, Sorensen, Janelt, Dasilva, Ghoddos, Mbuemo, Fosu, Toney. Subs: Daniels, Norgaard, Canos, Jensen, Emiliano, Forss, Roerslev, Zamburek, Bidstrup.